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The Best Bodyweight Workout for Winter​

It’s about this time of year that the novelty of chilly temps starts to wear off, and instead of being excited to show off your new coats and scarves, you’re just annoyed that it takes 10-plus minutes to get ready to get out the door. The obvious solution is to stay inside at all costs. But that instinct can spell trouble for your exercise habit.

It’s not that you can’t get a solid workout in at home—you definitely can. But it requires discipline, and an actual plan (have you tried our 30-Day Shape Slimdown Challenge yet?). After all, how often have you randomly decided to do a few push-ups, squat-jumps, or burpees in front of the TV, only to get distracted by the latest Law & Order marathon and never make it past set one? (Just me?)

That’s why we asked Shape’s rockstar fitness director and certified personal trainer Jaclyn Emerick for advice. She did us one better and put together a killer bodyweight routine. “This is a do-anywhere, five-move, bodyweight metabolic conditioning workout,” she says, before switching to English and explaining, “That’s a high-intensity style of programming that trains your body to use fuel more efficiently, which ultimately results in a fast but challenging workout that will burn a ton of calories and target every major muscle group.”

Sounds good to us! Even better, you’re meant to race through it. Avoid resting between moves in order to boost your calorie burn. If you give it your max effort and keep your heart rate high the whole time, Emerick says you can burn as much as you would running hard for the same amount of time, but with this routine you use more muscle groups. And your afterburn will be sky-high too. 

So change into your leggings and consider pausing the TV until you finish. You won’t be able to hear Stabler’s lines over your own panting anyway.

How it works: You'll start by doing 25 reps of each of the five moves, then you’ll do 20 reps of each, then 15, then 10, then 5. “The idea is that you get the biggest, hardest number out of the way when you’re freshest. Then when you come back to each set, you know you’ve got less reps. So mentally, the workout gets easier and easier even as your muscles get more fatigued,” says Emerick. It’s important to do these moves in the order they’re in below. “Each one works muscle groups differently than the others, so while one or two may take the brunt of the work, another gives you a little breather,” Emerick says. Do it in order, and you’ll be maxed out at the end—but you’ll make it to the end.

Total Time: up to 30 minutes

1. Squat

A.

Stand as tall as you can with your feet shoulder-width apart, toes slightly pointed outward. Place hands on hips to help maintain balance.

B.

Drop your hips and sit back until your thighs are parallel with the floor. Pause, then drive through the heels and lift body upwards back to the starting position, squeezing the glutes at the top of the movement.

Mistakes and Tips:

Avoid letting knees slide past toes when descending.

Avoid leaning too far forward.

2. Frog Burpees

A.

Start in a wide-legged squat.

B.

From squat position, hop forward, place hands on floor, and shoot the legs back into plank. Then explode up into the air, arms overhead. Land back in the wide-legged squat position and then jump backwards to starting position. Repeat.

3. Rock and Roll Stand Up

A.

Stand with feet hip-width apart, arms on guard. Lower into a squat.

B.

Drop hips all the way to the floor, sitting down and rounding back as you roll backward, tucking knees into chest with arms on guard. Return to standing while keeping arms on guard, rising up through squat on the way up. (If this is too difficult, use arms to help lower body to the floor, rock back, and stand up.)

4. Plank with Hip Drop

A.

Start in a forearm plank position with elbows under shoulders and feet hip-width apart. Engage quads, glutes, and core the entire time to form a straight line from head to feet.

B.

Keeping upper body completely still, drop hips to the left. Return to starting position. Drop hips to the right and return to starting position to complete 1 rep.

5. Superman from Floor

A.

Lie on the floor, facedown, with arms extended overhead and legs straight out behind you. Palms should be down on the floor.

B.

Squeeze your glutes and lower back to raise your upper body and straight legs off the floor. Hold the top position for two seconds, then return back to the starting position.

Mistakes and Tips:

Don't forget your glutes. Make sure to fully engage the at the top of the movement.

Don't move your head. Instead, keep it in line with the rest of your body.

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